(MENAFN - Gulf Times) A court in Patiala yesterday convicted famous bhangra-pop singer Daler Mehndi in a 15-year-old human trafficking case. The singer was sentenced to two years in jail and was later granted bail.
The police had registered a case against Mehndi, his brother Shamsher Singh - who died last October - and two others after it was alleged that the accused took money from people on the pretext of helping them settle abroad.
A complainant, Bakhshish Singh, alleged that the deal never materialised and the accused had failed to return his money.
A case was registered in 2003 in Patiala. Mehndi was subsequently arrested and released on bail after a few days.
Pleading innocence after the verdict, Mehndi told the media yesterday: 'I have been granted bail. We will appeal in a higher court.
The police had earlier moved two petitions before the court stating that Mehndi was not required in the case as he was not involved in the people-smuggling fraud.
Daler was arrested by the police in October 2003 along with Shamsher after the complainant said he was duped of a huge sum of money by the brothers, who had promised to take him abroad as part of their musical group and then leave him in some western country to settle there.
Police officials, after initial investigations, stated that the singers and other performers were running a well-organised racket to illegally take men from Punjab to western countries by making them part of musical troupes. The men were charged up to Rs2mn in each case.
However, after the police stated that Daler had was not involved in the immigration fraud case, the complainant moved court again objecting to the singer being discharged. He said that both the brothers had duped him.
Daler's arrest at a police station in Patiala in 2003 was quite controversial. He was asked to strip by a few junior police officers during interrogation. He spent a few days behind lock-up before being released on bail.
His younger brother, singer Mika, who accompanied him during the surrender in 2003, had to beat a hasty retreat near the police station when an 'organised angry mob surrounded their vehicles.